Junk Silver New Zealand

Posted by on Aug 06 2009, in silver

First of all what is ‘Junk Silver’? Junk silver are coins, usually circulated, that contain a high content of silver. These coins are commonly found and are more valued by hoarders for silver content than coin value.

In reality, ‘Junk Silver’, is not junk at all. It currently can still be bought below the ‘melt value’ of the metals it contains. Often coins can be purchased with expensive premiums that is associated with Bullion Silver (usually .9999 pure).

This blog is particularly aimed at New Zealanders – its the country where I live. I believe there is window of opportunity for Kiwis to purchase metals at good value now (as I am speaking the value of silver is hovering around 25NZD per ounce). This is of course on speculation that silver will skyrocket in the near future.

Silver, I believe, is more accessible to the average New Zealand investor than gold is. High premiums (there is 26% percent markup/premium on the local NZMints 1/4 coin) and customs charges of importing gold do not make gold a viable investment for most New Zealanders. Even for those looking for gold on popular sites such as trademe.co.nz will find that gold items (bullion or coins) often have extortionary values when compared to the market.

I don’t fault sellers, much of the pricing has to do with New Zealand’s isolation and small population. However, I hope to present ideas that are more within budget to small investors (which lets face it, most of us in the country are!). I aim to open, honest and fair in this blog. The fact is, I am using this blog as much as I can learn about Junk Silver and metal investment myself. So if you have insights and corrections – and by all means, differing viewpoints, please comment away!

Here are 4 reasons that make ‘junk silver’ a viable investment for New Zealanders:

Portability and Divisibility

Junk silver coins can be easily spent or traded in small amounts; this makes them popular for investors. These coins are still valuable even though they are fractional sizes of most bullion coins.

Low premiums/No Premiums:

Junk silver can often be bought for little or no premium over the spot price of silver

Legal tender

U.S. and Canadian junk silver remain legal tender, and maintain their face value regardless of the price of silver.


Despite a mass smelting of junk silver in the 1980s, junk silver coins are still somewhat well-known, and may be less likely to have their value disputed than silver bars or rounds. Though rare, some silver coins can still be found in general circulation

For kiwis, the best place to find junk silver online is ebay.com; there is much more choice than trademe.co.nz. Here is list of Ebay tips that you should for finding junk silver:

  • Don’t just search in the Coins category, look in the collectibles and antiques. Expand beyond coins, and you can find some deals!
  • Don’t forget to calculate shipping to New Zealand! USA sellers will have the best prices to New Zealand, followed by UK and Germany. Aussies and Canadians have extortionary shipping even though the currency is valued less than US or UK. I still haven’t found any deals with Aussie and Canadian ebay dealers.
  • Bid your highest price first. Why? Sometimes people will tend to move off bidding the closest it gets to the silver spot price. For instance I bidding for a roll of coins worth 40 usd, I am leading the bid at $38.00, my highest price. I am not interested in winning the auction, I am interested in getting a deal! Like minded people will realise that there is little room for a deal and move on to the next cheapest auction. I’ve won several auctions where it seemed like bidders have ‘moved on’
  • Don’t get into bidding wars, unlike trademe.co.nz – there are plenty of coins to go around on Ebay.com – On trademe.co.nz you will notice that many coin sellers greatly inflate values even after shipping and exchange conversions. Ebay is the place.
  • If you have items shipped from the USA – it can take 2 weeks to a month and half to receive them. Just be aware of this – the USA postal service, which is the cheapest option, is very inconsistent with delivery times.
  • New Zealand Customs – try to keep your total purchase under $199NZD (now $130ish USD), I’ve need been confronted by customs taxes at this price. I’ve found American shippers to be very accommodating and often write the face value of the coins instead of the silver value. Remember to ask!
  • Advanced searches are your best friend – Use it to find who ships to New Zealand and find coins within your budget!
  • Be familiar with the Coins. Eg, know that 1971 Eisenhower dollar only has silver if its minted in San Francisco! Do your homework and it will save you from stupid mistakes.

Finally, Coinflation.com shows the ‘melt value’ of junk silver coins from the USA. If you want to get the pure metal value of junk silver from the USA, this should be your primary stop. It doesn’t have all the junk silver coins, but you’ll find the most commonly sold ones. Though I primarily check it fore silver value you can find the value of all of the coins metal content.